The URI Hockey team dropped back-to-back games this weekend to Drexel Univeristy, losing 3-2 on Friday, and 5-4 in a shootout on Saturday.
Despite losing the second game in a shootout, the whole weekend might as well have been called one. The Rams peppered the Dragon’s on offense, tallying 121 shots in the series. In contrast, the Dragon’s accumulated less than half of that, with only 55 shots on goal over the weekend.
“We’re getting opportunities and we’re getting scoring chances,” Head coach Joe Augustine said. “Unfortunately they only count the ones that go in.”
One noticeable absence on the scoresheet was Captain Ray Boudiette, the team leader in points. Boudiette sat 13th in the nation coming into the weekend, but failed to tally a single point in the two games. Adding insult to injury, he left the second game with roughly seven minutes to go after taking a slapshot to the wrist. He did not return, and had ice wrapped around his hand following the game.
While the Rams failed to capitalize on the abundance of offensive opportunities they had in the series, the penalty kill was the real killer to the Rams. The Dragons tallied three total goals on the powerplay, including the game-tying goal on Saturday.
“Our penalty kill has been pretty good over the season, and then the last two weeks now it’s been falling apart,” Augustine said. “We’ll have to work on that and then get ready for next week.”
While the Rams penalty kill was the biggest killer of the weekend, it underlies a larger story from the weekend. In both games the Rams fell into 3-1 holes, and were forced to battle back for the rest of the game.
“Our mental preparation isn’t there, we don’t come out of the gate fast enough and we dig ourselves a hole and then we’re chasing the whole night,” Augustine said. “It’s not a good way to go.”
Looking ahead, the Rams schedule is not expected to get any easier. Their last six games of the season are all against divisional teams, and they are a combined 0-6 against their next three opponents; Delaware, Stony Brook and Liberty. While they came into the weekend atop of their division, they fell back to second place following the losses.
“We just gotta clean a lot of things up,” Augustine said. “Our scoring chances, we got to bear down more on those, and kind of figure out where we are, regroup and get ready for Delaware.”
The Rams will travel to face the new division leader, the University of Delaware on Saturday for the first part of their weekend series.